Saturday was a day full of memories that should last a lifetime for Xavier Arline. President Donald Trump being introduced to cheers and chants of “USA! USA!” and walking onto the field to handle the pregame coin toss. Blue Angels jets and Apache helicopters flying over the stadium. Starting and playing almost the entirety of his first Army-Navy football game.
All wonderful memories, except for one. The final score.
Arline started for Navy and his first taste of what is called America’s game was bittersweet. The freshman quarterback from Wading River ran for over 100 yards and came within inches of scoring his first collegiate touchdown, but he didn’t get what he wanted most: a victory.
Army won the 121st meeting between the teams, 15-0. It was the first time Army (8-2) had shut out Navy (3-7) since 1969. The game was played at Army’s Michie Stadium in West Point for the first time in 77 years instead of the traditional site, Philadelphia, so that cadets and midshipmen could attend. COVID-19 restrictions would have prevented that in Philadelphia.
Arline became the fifth Navy freshman quarterback to start against Army, according to The Associated Press. Making his fourth start of the season, Arline turned in the longest play of the game, a 52-yard dash off a quarterback draw in the third quarter. After bursting through the middle, he broke to the left and was tripped up by Cedrick Cunningham Jr. while reaching for the pylon. The ball was placed at the Army 2-yard line. The Midshipmen came away empty-handed following four successive runs.
Arline, a two-time Riverhead News-Review Athlete of the Year at Shoreham-Wading River High School, was the game’s leading rusher with 109 yards from 17 carries. He went 0-for-4 passing and played the entire game, except for Navy’s final series.
The game, enveloped in a thick fog that had rolled in off the Hudson River, saw the teams separated by a mere three points at halftime, courtesy of Quinn Maretzki’s 37-yard field goal.
Army quarterback Tyhier Tyler accounted for the only TD, a 4-yard keeper set up by a turnover early in the fourth quarter.
A safety brought the Black Knights their final two points, Marquel Broughton bringing Mark Walker down in the end zone on a failed reverse with 5 minutes, 21 seconds left to play.
Maretzki’s second field goal of the game, a 40-yarder with 2:20 to go finalized the scoring.
Army held Navy to 117 total yards and four first downs.